While there are those who still believe that two parents are necessary to raise a child, more and more celebrities are proving they can do it on their own, in large part thanks to their financial situations. From Sandra Bullock and Charlize Theron to Mindy Kaling and Andy Cohen, some of our favorite public figures have added kids to their lives without a significant other in the picture. Join Wonderwall.com as we run through some of the stars who had kids solo, starting with this actor… "Sex and the City" star Willie Garson was in his mid-40s when he adopted son Nathen through the foster system at 7. "I was single, I wanted a child and while I was in a long-term relationship, she did not want to have babies. That is fine but I always wanted to be a father. When the relationship ended … I knew I wanted to focus on having a child and I knew I would not serve a baby well. For me, my choice was to adopt an older child," Willie explained to Medium. In January 2021, Willie took to Instagram to celebrate the anniversary of Nathen's adoption with a sweet photo snapped in the courtroom the day it was finalized. "January 27, 2010. Adoption Day, LA Children's Court. Best day of my life. Always. It's an honor @nathen_garson, today and every day," he captioned the image.
Keep reading for more stars who had kids on their own…
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Sandra Bullock didn't plan to be a single mother. She began a four-year adoption process when she was with Jesse James. But in early 2010, just as she'd brought son Louis home, she learned the former "Monster Garage" star had been cheating on her, so she divorced him and finalized her son's adoption on her own. The star enjoyed motherhood so much that in 2015, she announced on the cover of People magazine that she'd adopted a second child, then-3-year-old daughter Laila. "When I look at Laila, there's no doubt in my mind that she was supposed to be here," she told the outlet at the time. "I can tell you absolutely, the exact right children came to me at the exact right time." These days, the actress is raising her kids with the loving help of photographer Bryan Randall, whom she started seeing in 2015.
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Angelina Jolie applied to adopt from Cambodia, along with then-husband Billy Bob Thornton, after visiting the country twice in 2002. However, the two broke up before the process was completed, and the Oscar-winning star brought 7-month-old son Maddox home on her own. She then raised the child solo until she began dating Brad Pitt in 2005. That same year, she also adopted a daughter, 6-month-old Zahara Marley, from an orphanage in Ethiopia. Not long after the A-list couple went public with their relationship, Brad legally adopted the two children. The pair would go on to add four more children to their family before calling it quits in 2016. "When I was growing up I wanted to adopt, because I was aware there were kids that didn't have parents. It's not a humanitarian thing, because I don't see it as a sacrifice. It's a gift. We're all lucky to have each other," she told Vanity Fair.
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In December 2017, Mindy Kaling gave birth to a daughter, Katherine Swati. The star and writer on "The Office" has never revealed the identity of her daughter's father and has been outspoken about handling parenting duties on her own. "After my daughter was born […] I remember bringing her home, and being in my house with her for the first time and thinking, 'Huh, according to movies and TV, this is traditionally the time when my mother and spouse are supposed to be here, sharing this experience with me.' And I looked around and I had neither, and for a moment it was kind of scary, like, 'Can I do this by myself?' But then that feeling went away because the reality is, I'm not doing it by myself. I'm surrounded by family and friends who love and support me," she said while giving a commencement speech at Dartmouth's 2018 graduation ceremony, as reported by ELLE. In 2020, she revealed on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" that she'd given birth to her second child, son Spencer, and once again kept his father's identity private.
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Charlize Theron has spoken about always wanting to adopt children. "My mother found [a letter I wrote]. It said, 'Would you please take me to an orphanage so that I can go and adopt a baby?' I always knew I would adopt. Always," she recalled in Madison magazine in 2012. The same year, she made her dream a reality by adopting her first child, Jackson. While she didn't intend on raising children solo, she explained that she wasn't going to wait to be in a relationship to make it happen. "You know, I don't think any mother aims to be a single mom. I didn't wish for that, but it happened," she added. Charlize adopted another daughter, August, in 2015. "My little one said something like, 'You need a boyfriend.' And I said, 'Actually, I don't,'" the Oscar-winning actress later said on Diane von Furstenberg's "InCharge With DVF" podcast of teaching her children that you can do it on your own.
In 2011, January Jones gave birth to son Xander and wasn't in a relationship at the time. The "Mad Men" star has never spoken publicly about the identity of her son's father, telling The New York Times, "That's my son's business. It's not the public's business." She has, however, talked at length about how important she feels it is for her son to have strong female figures in his life. "It's good to have strong women around a man," she told Red magazine. "To teach him to respect women. He doesn't have a male person in his life saying 'don't cry' or 'you throw like a girl.' All those s***** things dads accidentally do." In that same interview, January opened up about not feeling the need to have a significant other, adding, "My life is so full. It's not like, 'Aww, I wish I had a man.' After I had Xander, I went on a couple of dates and I was like, 'I'd rather be at home sleeping, or watching TV or hanging out with my kid.'"
Rosario Dawson is one of a few stars who made the decision to adopt an older child, not a baby. In 2014, she welcomed 11-year-old daughter Lola into her family. Rosario revealed that she became open to adoption after finding out that her dad wasn't her biological father when she was 5. After acknowledging that the revelation was "super shocking," the "Sin City" star shared she never had a relationship with him before he died in 2011. She's been outspoken about how much she loved the adoption experience, and how Lola has changed her life for the better. "To have a young person move in with you and to have to really consciously work through triggers and that kind of stuff is a really different thing than being pregnant and having your baby grow up in front of you — to be able to see how we're getting closer and closer. We are a family, and it's beautiful," she told Health.com in 2021.
Much like her "Sex and the City" character, Kristin Davis decided adoption was the way to go when it came to expanding her family. In 2011, she adopted daughter Gemma Rose on her own instead of waiting around for a partner to enter the picture. But as she explained to journalist Anderson Cooper the following year, the process didn't come without its challenges. "It is terrifying, partly because with adoption you always know there's the chance that it won't work. So you're on pins and needles. I had always thought in the back of my head that I would adopt — that it was a possibility. So I started the process, but it's quite confusing. There are all these different rules and if you're single, it's harder," she explained. It has all worked out for the actress, who also adopted son Wilson in 2018. "Having this wish come true is even more gratifying than I ever had imagined. I feel so blessed," she added.
In May 2007, Sheryl Crow announced on her website that she'd adopted a baby boy, son Wyatt. The news came one year after the musician was diagnosed with — and underwent treatment for — breast cancer, giving her a new urgency to have kids, following a breakup with athlete Lance Armstrong. In 2010, the Grammy-winning artist adopted her second son, Levi. "It wouldn't have been my first choice to do it by myself, but to be perfectly honest, I feel like the way that my life has — I keep saying the way that it rolled out, but it really is true — the way things have happened for me have not been conventional," she told Yahoo! Entertainment in 2020. "I can say safely that the way that it's rolled out for me has been really a blessing that everything that I wanted to do selfishly when I was younger, I've gotten that out of my system, and now it's all about my boys."
Before he came out in 2010, singer Ricky Martin became the father of twin boys, Matteo and Valentino, via surrogacy in 2008. Though he married Syrian-Swedish painter Jwan Yosef in 2018 — they've since welcomed two more kids, Lucia and Renn — Ricky was very much single when he brought the twins home. He spoke about doing it on his own at the time, telling People magazine, "I don't have a nanny. I'm doing this on my own because I don't want to miss a moment." Before meeting his husband, the "Livin' La Vida Loca" performer talked about the struggles of dating with two young boys at home. "The first year as a single father with twins was insanity. I had eye bags down to my knees, but it was the most beautiful year of my life," he told The Sun.
Actress Camryn Manheim made headlines in 2000 when she revealed that her "The Practice" character wasn't the only one who was pregnant — she was also expecting a little one on her own. In 2001, the Emmy-winning star gave birth to her son, actor Milo Manheim, whom she proudly raised as a single parent. In the years since, Camryn has been outspoken about her choice to parent on her own and has shared how much her son has changed her life for the better. "I have learned I am fierce when it comes to my son. The Amazon woman I am, you don't want to mess with me," she once told People. "I didn't know I had this. I know that I have incredible power and ferocity — I have learned that. I have learned I am a really great problem solver and alert and aware. I am incredibly prepared because I feel this great responsibility to take care of this precious, precious thing."
"What am I waiting for?" is the question Connie Britton asked herself before beginning the process of adopting from Ethiopia. In 2011, she brought son Eyob "Yoby" from an Ethiopian orphanage not long after the death of her parents. "I always knew I wanted a child, and I always assumed I'd be doing it with a man," the "Friday Night Lights" star told Redbook. "Then my parents passed away within three years of each other. Right after that, a lightbulb went off in my head and I thought, 'What am I waiting for?' I wasn't in a relationship at the time, but I thought, 'This is something I want to do. I can do it.'"
Denise Richards already had two children with ex-husband Charlie Sheen when she made the decision to adopt a third as a single mom. In 2012, the actress and adopted a baby girl she named Eloise Joni. "I felt like I wasn't done having children, and I've always wanted to have a large family. And so after my divorce I felt like, 'Oh well, I'm sure I'll soon enough get remarried and have my family [grow],' and that wasn't in the cards at the time, so I decided to expand my family on my own," she told People magazine of her decision. Denise eventually remarried in 2018. Her new husband, Aaron Phypers, later adopted young Eloise.
Mary-Louise Parker split from actor Billy Crudup while she was pregnant with their son, William, in 2004, and raised him as a single mom. She didn't wait to get into another serious relationship before bringing another child into their family. The "Weeds" star adopted daughter Caroline Aberash from Ethiopia on her own in 2007. "I finally just decided, 'OK, I'm going to do this, and it's going to be really hard because I'm single, and I'm going to do it anyway," she told WebMD, further telling People magazine that she'd long thought about adopting in order to help a child in need: "I would daydream about it all the time. I thought about the fact that there were children who didn't have anything, and I felt like I could help. It was something that weighed on me."
Diane Keaton celebrated her 50th birthday in a very unique way: She adopted daughter Dexter. In her book "Then Again," the Oscar-winning actress explained that after "a lifetime of avoiding intimacy," she felt like she eventually came into her own at a later age. "My old boyfriend, Warren Beatty, used to say I was a late developer," she wrote. "He was right. It took me 50 years to find motherhood and unconditional love," referencing that first adoption, which was also inspired by the passing of her father. She later adopted son Duke in 2001. "Motherhood has completely changed me. It's just about the most completely humbling experience that I've ever had," Diane told FilmMonthly.com. "I don't think that because I'm not married it's made my life any less," she once said, as reported by The Cut. "That old maid myth is garbage."
Meg Ryan had son Jack with fellow actor Dennis Quaid, but after they split in 2000, the "Sleepless In Seattle" star decided to add to her family on her own. She adopted daughter Daisy from China after spending a decade trying to adopt domestically. "There was nothing random about it. She is the daughter I should have," Meg told People magazine shortly after bringing Daisy home in 2006. "I never felt like I was on a rescue mission or anything like that. I just really wanted a baby; I was on a mission to connect with somebody, and Daisy and I got to meet each other this way at this time. We are so compatible. And also having the experience of having had Jack and now to have Daisy in a different way — there's no difference in the love you feel."
Michelle Pfeiffer was already knee-deep in private adoption proceedings when she began dating her now-husband, writer-producer David E. Kelley. In 1993, she adopted a newborn daughter, Claudia Rose, who was eventually christened on the same day the actress married the "Big Little Lies" creator. "[I] wasn't going to not have children because I wasn't married," the actress, who divorced actor Peter Horton in 1988, told The Telegraph. She did, however, have hesitations about explaining her plans to her new boyfriend at the time. "I was nervous about telling him, but I thought, 'This will separate the boys from the men.'" David took the news in stride. "I think it actually made me love [him] more," she added.
In 2018, Bravo exec and "Watch What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen revealed he was about to become a single father with the help of a surrogate. He welcomed son Benjamin Allen the next year. He worked with an organization to find both an egg donor and a surrogate and told People magazine the process didn't come without its challenges. "Surrogacy is illegal in so many states, including New York. I don't understand why. It's a voluntary process, obviously. My surrogate just viewed it as, she was giving me the ultimate gift. She gave me life. So I'll be forever indebted to her," he said, explaining that he's happy being on his own. "I like being alone. I didn't want to wait. To me it would have to be a very special person to say, 'Let's do this together.' And I would love that, and that person could be having coffee down the street at this moment and I'll meet him soon."
Edie Falco had never planned to adopt, but the never-married star knew she wanted children and eventually decided it was the best route. "At that time I was single and the idea to adopt came to me," she told journalist Anderson Cooper in 2012. "I just knew at a certain point it was time to raise kids." The "Sopranos" actress adopted son Anderson in 2005 and daughter Macy in 2008. At the time, she explained, she had no concerns about eventually discussing her children's backgrounds with them. "I don't [worry] because I am really clear in my head what it's all about," she said. "The second you are handed a newborn, it is yours. It doesn't matter what body it came out of. I've never felt more strongly about anything in my life."
Calista Flockhart has been married to Harrison Ford since 2010, but a few years before they started dating, the then-single "Ally McBeal" actress decided to pursue adoption. In 2001, she brought home son Liam as a newborn. "I have always wanted to adopt a child and I am overjoyed that I have been blessed with a beautiful and healthy son," she said in a statement when she announced the news. "I'm completely enchanted and awe-struck." Harrison, who was already a father of four, embraced her son with open arms. "She's brought a child back into my home," he told Reader's Digest. "It's a wonderful opportunity to be a part of a child's growing up, which is always an endless springtime. You see the blossoming and the growing and the nurturing and the payoff."
Madonna was already mom to two biological children and an adopted son when she decided to add to her family after her divorce from second husband Guy Ritchie. In 2009, the Queen of Pop adopted daughter Mercy from Malawi, the same country where son David Banda was born. The country's high court initially rejected her application because she wasn't a resident, but later approved the adopted after she appealed. "The way I was treated — that sexist behavior — was ridiculous," Madonna told People magazine, recalling that she was told she wasn't capable of raising a child because she was single. "It's complicated, but it's so worth it." Madonna later adopted twins Stelle and Estere from the same country in 2017. "I've had some pretty dark moments, but I'm a survivor," she added.